Since Marat became a leader of Team Russia ( that is , since he won USO 2000 ), he participated in 14 Davis Cup ties. Russia is 13-1 in those, and the only loss came in Belarus .. and you know that story .. should have been perfect 14-0 for Russia with Safin leading it.. Russia with Safin is .. invincible..
Nah, he's been the top dog of Russian tennis but he's had Kafelnikov earlier and then Youzhny & Davydenko to fall back on when things have been going badly. In 2001 he got beaten in both his singles matches by Kucera & Hrbaty but Russia still advanced from that one.
He's in the contemporary top 3, I'll give you that. Hewitt still stands in his own colossal heights but Safin occupies the second spot with Nalbandian, who is hard to rank because he has no team success apart from last year's final appearance but there's only one time Argentina ever progressed with him losing a live rubber and that was last year against Croatia. Hewitt has been in a decline a few years and we'll see how Dave rebounds from his sub-par showing in Göteborg. Safin's relative longevity might actually have me agree with you by the end of this year.
Ljubicic and Hrbaty, maybe even Escude or Jiri Novak (well they were active in the same time segment) are other noteworthy names that spring into mind easily. Ljubicic was a monster at his peak, which wasn't that long, apparently. Hrbaty has a steady if somewhat uninspiring DC career and Escude is a bit of a curiosity; he was never the go-to guy in his team and his career record of 18w-5l is inflated by a higher amount of dead rubbers than with the other top guys. He deserves a mention, though.